Artiest / Band: 

Workshop is the solo debut from Joop Wolters, music teacher and lead guitarist of Arabesque, a Dutch prog metal band. The album is rather short, but long enough to let the world know that in the Netherlands there are also some extremely talented guitar players around. With a little help from his friends Thijs Cuppen (keyboards on Endless Love) en Nathan van der Wouw (drumprogramming on Headstart and Flamoose), Wolters has played this entire album mostly on his own. As could be expected his style is mainly metal, but also prog and fusion influences are present. The first track Tibet is rather heavy, metal riffs and twin guitars playing the melody and some extremely fast solos in the vein of Joe Satriani en Steve Vai. Next track Funk It Up is more fusion and funk into both rhythm and guitar sounds. Things get nice and easy and you find yourself floating on Cross My Hearts with the guitar almost sounding as if it was a keyboard. I Don't Know is heavy metal again with lots of wah-wah guitar. A bit of jazz-rock can be heard in the somewhat heavy Headstart, which begins as a ballad but is speeding up after a minute and than you hear more of that well-known 'see how fast I can play' stuff. Joop Wolters can also play very subtle and almost jazzy which he proves on Prelude For Comfort, surely one of my favourites. Syntology begins as a melodic metal tune like the ones Lars Eric Mattsson could have written, followed by solos having too many notes per second on a more funky rhythm. Nice keyboards were added on the ballad Endless Love and finally Flamoose, a funky jazz-rock song, very neat but a little strange after all that heavy stuff. The album shows the abilities of Joop Wolters as a songwriter and guitarist, which cannot be underestimated, but nevertheless I would rather have him put his energy in a new smashing album by Arabesque.